Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh MLAs representing constituencies along the India-China border have begun a forum to prevent the exodus of border residents to urban areas by further developing the 1,080 km frontier area. State Assembly Speaker PD Sona on Sunday said that the forum was constituted to formulate plans and strategies to curb the migration of people from the border villages to urban areas.Also Read - India-China Talks to De-escalate Border Tensions End in Deadlock; Next Round of Meeting Soon

Sona, who represents the Mechuka assembly constituency, of a district bordering China will lead the newly-formed Indo-China Border Development Legislators Forum of Arunachal Pradesh (ICBDLFAP). “The villagers along the international borders are still lacking basic amenities due to which they migrate to urban areas in search of better life and livelihoods,” added Sona on the necessity of the forum. Also Read - 'Talks on, But It's Something Confidential': Jaishankar on India-China Border Tensions

The Indo-China Border Development Legislators Forum of Arunachal Pradesh (ICBDLFAP) was constituted to formulate plans and strategies to curb the migration of people from the border villages to urban areas. It was formed following the meeting of the legislators in the state capital on Saturday. Also Read - Amid Border Tensions, Chinese Vessels Spotted in Indian Waters Last Month; Indian Navy on Constant Watch

The Indo-China Border Development Legislators Forum of Arunachal Pradesh concerns

MLAs Phurpa Tsering, Mutchu Mithi, and Dasanglu Pul reiterated similar concerns and supported forming a common platform of legislators of the border areas to emphasise the important issues, as collective requests would be effective. MLA Lokam Tassar, convenor of the ICBDLFAP, suggested modifying the guidelines of the existing Border Areas Development Plan, an increase of allocation and submission of block-wise utilisation certification, instead of the existing collective one, which, according to the MLAs, “unnecessarily hampers the implementation of BADP schemes.” The forum is soon to submit a memorandum to Chief Minister Pema Khandu on the issue.

The 11 MLAs of the border areas stressed that the region needs to be developed on a priority basis in order to check people’s migration. “The inhabitants of the border villages are considered India’s first line of defence. They have never failed in reporting transgressions by the Chinese troops. In the past few years, there has been a steady migration of the villagers to state capital Itanagar and other urban areas for livelihood. Basically the border areas remained backward owing to topographical factors and inaccessibility,” Tassar said.

To maintain the livelihood, people in the areas mostly practice diverse trades and professions including “Jhuming” (slash and burn method of cultivation) and wet rice cultivation, horticulture, fish farming, carpet making, wood carving, breeding of Mithun, Yak, Sheep, and other livestock. Arunachal Pradesh shares borders with Bhutan (160km), Myanmar (440km), and China to the north and northeast.

(With Inputs from IANS)